Gocek

This was the final week of our amazing summer cruise. Knowing that soon we would be tied to the dock for months, we wanted our final week to be swinging at anchor and untethered to land except by our hook. We specifically wanted to relax and have completely chilled family time with no plans, no expectations. Jack and I did some building legos, Alec and I had some date coffees, and mostly the week involved doing very little.

We were warned before arriving that it was incredibly crowded and finding a place to anchor very difficult. It is true that the roughly 7-mile stretch of protected bay was very deep which limits the number of places we could safely anchor and there were tons of boats – I know, “tons” is not a specific number, but it was busy even at the end of the season.

Unless you have been living under a rock or away from all media, you know about the Russian/Ukraine “situation”. For various reasons, Türkiye is the only country currently allowing Russian boats in. Some of the massive Russian pleasure boats are subject to EU sanctions meaning they cannot go anywhere in the EU without being impounded except here in Türkiye. Currently a non-EU member and with friendly relations toward both the US and Russia, Türkiye is in the unique position of being the ONLY game in town for Russians, and given that they are non-Schengen, they are one of the 3 only games in town for Americans, Aussies and UK citizens among others for stays of longer than 180 days. So, obtaining winter berthing in Tükiye has been a challenge. And Gocek seems to be a favorite spot for Russian boats large and well, larger.

Kitty for sale – cats make themselves home in Turkiye

Our timing could not have been better however, and we arrived to find the town very relaxed, yet the shops were open and anxious to serve. We found some specialty foods only available in the US and several amazing restaurants. We had a rainy day, something that we have been sorely missing in month after month of gorgeous sunshine (really, not kidding, even sunshine can get old without the occasional rainy day to help you appreciate it. But overwhelmingly, the only thing we did was total relax and recharge.

Türkiye has some of the strictest regulations we have encountered regarding treatment of black and grey water (euphemisms for poop and shower water respectively). Believe me when I tell you, we support it, and we thoroughly appreciate it. It is one thing to have the regulation, but it is something else altogether different when the country puts services in place which support the regulations. Not to point fingers but Italy was the worst country in terms of regulating and handling the black and grey water of boaters. The only cita we even encountered a regulation was in the island city of Venice. In a place where traveling by boat is not only ideal but mandatory, there was a regulation of no discharge whatsoever but there was no facility to pump out. We ended up hiring a barge which services cruise ships to handle our pump out at an ungodly price, but we were clearly THE ONLY BOAT to do so. After a month in the marina, we never saw anyone pump out and we saw plenty of evidence of people resorting to their own devices…. So, this was a classic case of making a regulation but then having nothing in place to support or encourage the following of it.

But not in Türkiye. The regulations regarding the discharge of Black and Grey water are strict. Once a vessel is cleared into the country, the owner/operator are issued a QR code unique to their vessel. Every time the vessel pumps out, the QR code is scanned as proof of compliance. It’s rumored that the coast guard checks compliance regularly though we haven’t been checked yet ourselves. But there is no reason NOT to comply. There are pump out stations at every marina we have visited and in Gocek, there is a mobile pump out facility in the bay as well as mobile pump out boats offering the service to all the yachts in the anchorage. This was truly amazing to us. You could get pumped out, while at anchor, without even moving. One would expect this service to be pricey, but it is only about 10.00 to pump out what amounts to 3 weeks of use for us on Gratitude. This is a BARGAIN! And we are delighted to comply and pay. And it shows! This is the first time we have stayed in a marina that we would be comfortable paddle boarding or swimming in. The water is crystal clear.

This was also the first place we found grocery stores on boats traveling around the anchorage. 2 of the biggest stores operate boats to deliver groceries and they carry most basic goods you might find in a convenience store. One could hang at anchor without taking the dinghy to shore for weeks!

Ok so not to pick on Italy but if I was excited about the pump out facilities, I was over the moon, not only in Gocek but everywhere in Turkiye, with the availability of trash/garbage/recycling disposal. In every place we went to town, we found clearly marked and convenient trash disposal. The ONLY exception was in Bodrum where we found it difficult to offload trash. In Gocek there were clearly marked, clean and large receptacles to take the trash. It is no wonder that this country is the cleanest we have visited. They should be very proud. Again, not to pick on Italy but I’m reminded of the beach cleanup we did with several families on Earth Day in which we filled 15 huge yard size trash bags in a short 100 meters of beach and then had no place to dispose the bags of trash we collected because nobody would take the trash! It is easy to see the values of a country when one lives there for more than a few weeks. And Türkiye is very quickly becoming a favorite. The parks, beaches, cities, and marinas are all pristine.

This we have never seen before… an island with nothing on it but trash receptacles to collect trash. Brilliant!

I have no doubt that Gocek has far more to offer than we experienced while lazing around at anchor but for us, it was the most idealic and pleasant week we could ever have imagined.

After a week here, we traveled the final 52 miles to our winter home, Kas, Türkiye. We were met by friends Kim and Steve aboard Mimpi and we had a delightful welcome meal right at the marina. In our next post we will do a breakdown of the miles, fuel and basic wrap up of our summer cruise, but I can hardly begin writing about Kas. It is an amazing place, and we are the most fortunate people to have found it! A complete accident of fate, we couldn’t be happier for where we landed. Stay tuned!!!

Published by cruisingwithgratitude

Alec and Laurie Thyrre (both retired airline pilots) are making an effort to share and experience as much of this beautiful planet with their now 11 yr old son Jack and cat Pratt while traveling aboard a 64' Nordhavn boat. We started this adventure in 2018 and crossed the Atlantic in 2019.

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